On November 17, 2011, the LA County Sheriff’s Department announced that it was re-opening the investigation into the 1981 Thanksgiving weekend drowning death of actress Natalie Wood. The following day, a press conference was held.
Marti Rulli, author of the 2009 book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendor, was instrumental in bringing about this new LASD investigation. This weekend on her blog, she recalls what it was like to be thrust into the resulting national media frenzy and – more importantly – shares images of two pages from the Wood autopsy report.
Rulli argues that the extensive bruises found on Wood’s body are the main reason why the LASD recently amended the cause of death on the actress’ death certificate to “drowning and other undetermined factors:”
After much research and studying Natalie’s autopsy report, I explained in Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (with the help of Dr. Lyndon Taylor), Natalie’s bruises appeared to be of classic domestic violence nature. The bruises on the backs of her legs appear to be combat bruising. The small circular bruises at her ankles appear to be fingerprints. The scratch at her neck and the numerous other bruising indicates a possible altercation. There were over two dozen bruises on Natalie’s body when she was pulled from the ocean: bruises not logically accounted for in 1981.
A large four-inch bruise on Natalie’s arm reeks of a defensive wound. Her facial abrasion had to derive from a semi-rough surface, such as a rug, or a deck recently coated with non-skid? My research led me to believe Natalie’s bruises occurred while still aboard her yacht, and it’s apparent the new medical examiner agrees her bruises are of a suspicious nature – enough to change a death certificate.
Rulli also notes that in the wake of the removal of the word “accidental” from Wood’s death certificate, the LASD investigation is still as far as she knows very much active and ongoing. This Thanksgiving will mark the 31st anniversary of Wood’s mysterious, tragic death. RIP.
[Photo of Wood’s grave site at Westwood Village Memorial Park: Joe Seer/Shutterstock.com]
Previously on FishbowlLA:
Author Campaigns to Have Natalie Wood Investigation Re-Opened
Natalie Wood Drowning ‘Ear Witness’ Was Threatened Three Days Later
Splendour Captain Recalls Early National Enquirer Tactics
EXCLUSIVE: Author Marti Rulli Revisits Natalie Wood Media Frenzy
Natalie Wood Author Reacts to Death Certificate Change